Monday, 22 February 2010


I love Wikipedia.
I love the idea of people getting together to share knowledge about everything (absolutely everything).
I love that Spanish universities feel it necessary tell students that it is unacceptable to use Wikipedia as your only source for an essay.
I love the Nathan Filer poem about Wikipedia which sadly I can't find online (although I strongly recommend you check out his other work).
I love the random article button on Wikipedia. When I worked in a very boring job, my friend Richard and I, working on opposite sides the city, would send each other links to the best random article we could find. Actually, now my job isn't boring and we live several hundred miles away we still do!
I love the stories Ben Partridge wrote, based on the wikipedia article generated by the random button each day.
I particularly love day three and day 25.
I miss those stories.

Here is my very poor attempt to replicate one.

Based on the wikipedia article:, as generated by the random article button. (And I was good and only pressed it once.)

It had all started when Emma Hardy had given him salty popcorn when he had specifically asked for sweet. He didn’t discover the error until he was sat in his seat and the trailers had already started. He had timed his entrance perfectly to avoid the adverts but catch the trailers and now it was too late to go back and complain. He was so angry he didn’t even take any pleasure in the trailer for the latest George Clooney film. All he could think about was Emma Hardy, giving him the wrong popcorn, mocking him from behind the refreshments counter. Not even George- so rugged yet so debonair- could smooth over that slight. He managed to concentrate for most of the film but when occasionally his hand would stray to the popcorn bucket he would remember and his ire would rise again. He’d have his revenge though.

As soon as he got home he logged onto Wikipedia and edited the entry for the Kettering Odeon, referencing the low hygiene standard and low morals of their food staff. That would show her. His satisfaction didn’t last long however. Three days later the article was amended and all mentions of what Ms Hardy liked to indulge in and with whom were removed from the site.

Since then it had become a challenge, an obsession: John against the machine. He learnt quickly- comments on cinemas and nightclubs got picked up pretty quickly, sexual slurs were detected within a matter of days, UK and US based businesses were a lot quicker to cleanse their entries than organisations in other countries. Tonight though he was pretty sure he had cracked it.

‘Cafe Cartel Restaurants in the suburban areas are infamous for their bad customer service. Snobby managers and staff with no eye contact.’

It didn't matter he had never even left the UK,let alone visited Singapore. Tonight, he was sure, he had acheived his goal. It would be months, even years, before anybody corrected that.

It was with intense smugness and satisfaction that he watched his ER box set that night.

No comments:

Post a Comment